If I haven't mentioned this before, I am 46 years old. I got a tattoo this summer - I often say I got my first tattoo, because I fully expect to get another. It is a Celtic cross on my left inner forearm. Very visble and about 2" x 3". I love it.
I get lots of looks for my tattoo, and once I convinced people that it was real (I had the henna believers after me for weeks!), it has been interesting to hear why people think I got the tattoo I got. Here's the real story.
I have always wanted a tattoo - well, for 20 years anyway. But I wanted a tattoo that meant something to me, at a time that meant something to me. Hadn't thought about it for years until last summer, when my husband was away at treatment and I was single-parenting and starting my own recovery program with Al Anon. I was driving home one day and had the idea pop into my head "I need to get a tattoo." This was the time I needed to mark and to have a forever reminder of this turning point in my/our life. Hmmm...I thought, entertaining this idea...but where would I put a tattoo? My requirements were this: I need a spot that I can see it myself, without a mirror, and a spot that is not lumpy or mushy, which is hard to find on my body these days. I was driving, and happened to focus just for a split second on my left arm, which was on the wheel - and there it was! The spot! Skin still smooth and firm, perfectly visible yet cover-able. Hmmm...I thought, entertaining this location idea...but what would I get? I kid you not, within a minute, I recalled my love of Celtic crosses...I went home and googled "celtic cross tattoos" and had a perfect image of what I wanted within 24 hours. And it turned out great.
"But what does it MEAN?" everyone says (except, surprisingly, my mother, who only wondered if it hurt!). Many believe it is a testament to my faith. Ummm...no. Honestly, I just think Celtic crosses are gorgeous. When I visited Scotland years ago, I took dozens of photos of the crosses I saw. I also bought a cross necklace when I was there and I wore it all the time for more than a decade, but lost it a couple years ago. Had never found another one that was just the thing...but now I did and put it on my body forever. I also kind of admire the Celts. I read that they had this fertility symbol that was generally a decorated phallus - a post with a circular piece on top. The Christians came in to convert the Celts and wanted all the pagan symbols to go, so the Celts put a cross behind the circular piece to appease the Christians, and voila! the first Celtic cross. So really, agnostic that I am, it is also a symbol of how one religion just melds, historically, into another as needed...that story also feeds my oppositional nature.
My tattoo reminds me of the commitment I made this summer to change my life for the better. The trinity knot is included in the Celtic knotwork within the cross and that certainly has a connection to the Al Anon program too, so the "change for the better" reminder includes a reference to my recovery.
The next tattoo is going on my right foot - ideas still percolating but I think this one will have color...